SodaStream, the Israeli at-home carbonation company whose West Bank factory has made it one of the prime targets of BDS activists, has agreed to add “Made in the West Bank” to labels of products sold in the United States. The move comes after activists filed a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice alleging that SodaStream labeling its products ‘Made in Israel,’ when they were in fact made in the West Bank, violated Oregon’s Fair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits false advertising.
It’s a largely symbolic victory, particularly since the company announced plans to shutter the factory in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and move operations to Israel proper, citing “purely commercial” concerns. Still, it’s the latest setback for the purveyor of homemade fizz, which in addition to intense pressure from boycott activists has faced declining sales as it struggles to find its footing among major soda companies and healthier beverage options in the U.S.
Moving from the West Bank to the company’s new Lehavim plant near Beersheba in southern Israel won’t end SodaStream’s troubles, either. BDS activists, who target companies accused of benefitting from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, have announced they have no plans to stop boycotting SodaStream even after the move, which they say will contribute to the displacement of Bedouins.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.